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Indoor Tanning Ban For Minors Sails Through Senate

by Jacqueline Wattles | May 17, 2013 11:16am
(4) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Health Care

The Senate unanimously approved a bill Thursday that would create an outright ban on tanning bed use by people under the age of 17.

The bill passed Thursday by the Senate lowered the minimum age for indoor tanning from 18 to 17 before passage. Current law prohibits tanning facility operators from allowing anyone under age 17 to use tanning devices without written consent from the minor’s parent or guardian. The fine for violating the law is $100.

Public Health Co-Chair Sen. Terry Gerratana, D-New Britain, said she felt an outright ban on tanning by minors was necessary after the “overwhelming” testimony on the health effects.

“The testimony confirmed our fears,” Gerratana said.

She pointed to a Yale School of Public Health study that showed indoor tanning is associated with a 69 percent increase in early-onset basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer), and statistics indicated a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma (now the leading cause of death for 20 to 29 year old women) for tanning-bed users under age 30. She said the 2012 study provided data lawmakers could not ignore.

Additionally, the World Health Organization recently deemed ultraviolet rays from tanning beds to be a carcinogen, putting tanning beds on the same level as cigarettes in terms of health risks.

Similar legislation has been filed twice in the past and is being pushed this legislative session despite efforts by the tanning industry to regulate itself. In January, tanning bed business owners announced plans to require physician’s referrals from customers under the age of 16.

But the Senators agreed that because skin cancer has become the most common form of cancer in the U.S. and research suggests risks are higher for those under the age of 35, it was necessary to intervene.

“This bill has been controversial,” Sen. Minority Leader John McKinney said. “But when you think of how popular it is for very young people to go into tanning salons without understanding the potential health consequences, I see the need for government intervention.”

The bill, which would become effective in October, still faces obstacles before passage and now heads to the House. Gerratana, who was elected in 2011, said despite opposition to the bill in past years, she believes it finally has the scientific backing it needs to garner enough support to push it through.

“Hopefully three times is the charm,” Gerratana said.

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(4) Comments

posted by: LongJohn47 | May 17, 2013  1:52pm

This is good news. Thanks to all those working on this important bill.  It’s taken three years on what should have been a no brainer.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 17, 2013  4:03pm

CT is so flipping funny - If you’re under 18 you can’t tan, you can’t see a movie without your parents, you can’t drive with other teens in the car, You can’t buy cigarrettes - but you CAN go get an abortion without parental consent - go get the morning after pill or just have condoms distributed to them by the school… CT is awesome.

posted by: Noteworthy | May 17, 2013  6:38pm

I’m not surprised. The chance to nanny the public some more and tell people what to do with their money and life? Hey, its a no brainer

posted by: Shelly 75ngml | May 17, 2013  8:00pm

“statistics indicated a 75 percent increased risk of melanoma (now the leading cause of death for 20 to 29 year old women) for tanning-bed users under age 30. She said
the 2012 study provided data lawmakers could not ignore.”

Funny how they decided to ignore the part of that study that the 75% increase risk is not from sunbeds used at a professional salon. The statistic comes from a WHO study that showed that the significant increase in risk were from home units where people set their own exposure times. This method was found to increase the risk by 40%. The biggest risk was from Dermatologists treatments called phototherapy in which the sunbed is used to induce burn to treat skin conditions like psoriasis. This method was found to increase the risk by 96% The least risk was professional tanning salons. The study found that the risk increased by an insignificant 6% That is because professional salons have safety measures in place to avoid overexposure. They limit how long and how often a person tans based on their skin type.

While this ban may sound like a good idea, it really could make things worse. Now instead of going to a professional salon where the teen is monitored and limited on UV exposure, they will seek out more dangerous methods. My daughter has a friend with a sunbed in her basement, I think that is a bigger risk of sunburn. That is when UV is dangerous, when you are overexposed, causing burn, research shows that SUNBURN is when the risk of skin cancer comes in to the picture. Moderate, responsible UV exposure should be taught.